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About HostGIS Linux

HostGIS Linux was created in 2005. Its goal was to address a core problem of the MapServer open-source mapping stack: the software stack.

The fully-functional stack is over 25 programs and libraries, each requiring custom configuration, and taking days of effort. The complexity of this process has been the subject of many emails to the MapServer mailing list and others.

HostGIS Linux filled its position well. In 15 minutes, you could have a freshly-installed OS with the MapServer stack and a set of a working examples using GDAL/OGR, PostGIS, OpenLayers and TileCache. This saved literally days of effort over figuring out the installation process on your own platform.

Over the years, HostGIS Linux started to show its age. Its package management was never that great, and we never did work out a seamless upgrade process. Hardware compatibility was broad, but sometimes had issues due to the small base of testers. Its base was Slackware and Slamd64, as opposed to the up-and-coming Ubuntu, so support for the OS itself was not widespread.

In 2010, we chose not to continue releasing new versions of HostGIS Linux, on grounds that more mainstream distributions such as Ubuntu had caught up with us and achieved our goal. Ubuntu's inclusion of MapServer et cetera in its repositories makes installation and upgrades easy, and Ubuntu's wide user base means widespread technical and hardware support. In this light, the relevance of HostGIS Linux is greatly reduced.

We continue to host the legacy versions of HostGIS Linux as well as the Slamd64 archives, for the reference and convenience of developers and hosting clients who are still using them. We will continue to host these for as long as people continue to use HostGIS Linux. HostGIS Linux is still a quick and easy way to get an OS installed with the MapServer stack and a set of a working examples using GDAL/OGR, PostGIS, OpenLayers and TileCache. This creates a good learning environments for those new to online geospatial.


HostGIS Linux is a Linux/GNU distribution, Slackware Linux: compilers, Perl, etc.

  • Apache webserver, with PHP
  • MapServer, and MapScript for PHP, Perl, and Python
  • PDFlib, with support built in to PHP, Perl, Python, and MapServer
  • Webmin, phpMyAdmin, and system administration
  • Example maps and map frameworks already installed, demonstrating Mapserver Web Widgets, Map-Fu, ECW images

For more of an introduction, check out our presentation from OSGeo 2005

Places to go from here